Hi everyone, my name is Aaron and I`m a compulsive gambler. I`ve gambled off and on for a number of years, and each time I`ve tried to stop on my own it seemed the lies and the amount of money I would take with me just progressed. March the 6th 2014 was the last day that I gambled, and it feels great, but I know that I`m only a loonie away from losing everything.
It got to a point where I was not in control anymore, I lost myself. I have a great paying job, a wonderful wife, a beautiful little girl, and two step-boys that maybe I don’t have the best relationship with but I still love them. You see I would go around and get payday loans to fuel my VLT addiction, and I would get more than one in a day, up to 4 or 5. Sure, I would win but mostly I lost. And, when I did win it would have to go back to those places I borrowed from. When I lost, I would borrow money from my mother to pay them back. My mother helped me out so much, but all I did was lie to her about what it was for. She got to the point where she would not lend to me anymore. I would drive from the places I borrowed money from, knowing that what I was doing was wrong, but those thoughts were very brief. Lying to my wife, neglecting my children, withdrawing from friends and family, everything was just spiraling out of control.
The day I stopped gambling was the same day I walk through the doors of residential treatment facility for addictions at “Parkwood” in Brandon, Manitoba. I spent 26 days in treatment, and learned so much about my addiction and myself. It wasn’t easy at times, but I`m so happy I walked through those doors. I attend GA meetings and I also have a sponsor that I can call or go see anytime I have a problem, or just want to talk to. I thank my Higher Power for that and the program. I remember trying GA a few times and never really enjoyed going, it was more just to please my wife. I realize now that I had to do it for me. I recall also, one time going to a meeting and seeing a lady I knew, and both of our jaws dropped to the ground, but we got through the meeting okay. But, the next day I went to see my sponsor and told him that I felt so uncomfortable and didn’t think I could go back to a meeting. Well, he told me that she told him the same thing the night before and he gave us both the same advice- that we are not there for anyone but your self. Well, I stopped going. After another year and finally hitting rock bottom and putting myself into a program, I went back to GA and the first person I saw as I walked through the doors was that lady I knew. It was awesome to see her and felt so right to be in that room again, with no feelings of guilt or shame.
This is a life long recovery, and now I have the tools to help me, I`m thankful for that.
One day at a time.